Santa and his new friend Paws, head to New York to help spread Christmas cheer but when Santa loses his memory it’s up to a group of orphan kids, magic dogs and an elf to help him.
Directed by – Robert Vince
Written by – Robert Vince, Anna McRoberts
Starring – Diedrich Bader, Melody B. Choi, Jason Connery, Bill Cobbs, Chris Coppola, Michelle Creber, Patrika Darbo, John Ducey, Josh Flitter, Pete Gardner, Zachary Gordon, G. Hannelius, Richard Kind, Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Nicole Leduc, Kaitlyn Maher, Christopher Massey, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Mitchel Musso, Nic Novicki, Adom Osei, Madison Pettis, Mikey Post, Richard Riehle, Nathan Smith, Bonnie Somerville, Danny Woodburn
Where would Christmas be without the near death of Santa, a magic dog who turns into a toy almost being incinerated, orphans in an orphanage whose parents have all died and they are now under the care of someone who locks them in the basement for singing and just general depression all around. Well The Search for Santa Paws has it all and more! Hooray! Leave it to Disney to craft one of the most depressing Christmas movies ever. Is there a happy ending? Of course there is, it’s a kids movie after all but there are so many sad moments leading up to it that I can barely remember the happy ending at all.
You would think that this movie would be about dogs, specifically Santa Paws. I also thought it would be an hour and a half of sappy songs and Christmas joy being spread by furry little puppies dressed up in cute little outfits. Forget about dogs first of all, their screen time is limited and forget about Christmas joy, there’s more bah humbug in this movie than Scrooge could handle. It all starts with Santa getting a letter telling him that his good friend, who owns a toy store in New York and dressed as Santa every year, has died. His friend’s last request was to deliver a stuffed dog to Santa and when the elves and Mrs. Claus see how sad he is they bring the stuffed dog to life with their magic icicle. Stick with me here guys!
Santa takes his new friend Paws to New York to help spread Christmas cheer but as soon as he arrives he’s hit by a taxi and loses his memory. Paws runs off to find help but gets lost. A local bum was following Santa and winds up stealing his bag and the magic crystal that keeps Santa living forever. At the same time we’ve got the story of an orphan girl who gets dropped off with the biggest humbugger of all at an orphanage where happiness just isn’t allowed and the Grandson of Santa’s friend taking over the toy store where all the Christmas cheer in New York seems to come from. The kids just want to be happy and the grandson just wants to get through Christmas and sell the toy store. Paths cross, more sadness abounds and then we hit the happy ending.
I didn’t realize it until I started writing it but there is way too much going on in this movie! Suddenly I can see why there’s almost no room to have dogs in a movie that’s supposed to be about dogs. By no stretch of the imagination is this a good film. Santa is a little creepy looking to start off and the fact that the movie is full of dead parents seems to fit the Disney mold though. Everything is just terribly sad here. The orphans live with a caretaker who locks them in the basement overnight when they’re bad, doesn’t allow any toys or Christmas and hates singing. Of course after watching this one I may hate singing myself.
My daughter had to watch the movie with the songs subtitles on and I realized just how terrible all those songs really were by seeing the words flash across the screen. Did they even try to write a good song at all? Maybe if Disney wasn’t churning out direct to DVD flicks like this in some sort of insane turnaround time they might have put a little thought into it. It’s the hallmark of what’s supposed to be a feel good holiday movie for kids though. The whole movie is just a steaming pile with some cute animals thrown in to make us forget that everything else in the movie is terrible.
If you enjoy being depressed over the holidays than The Search for Santa Paws might just be for you. It had my daughter crying which is always a great thing for a movie to do. The shining point in the film is Santa (Richard Riehle). He looks a little creepy but he makes a great Santa and I’ll admit he does a good job at spreading Christmas cheer. Well, right up until the point that it looks like he’s going to die. I can think of plenty of other Christmas flicks for the kids that are a lot better than this one so if you’re looking for a family holiday treat, skip this one. If pointless stories and cute dogs is what you wanted I suggest sticking with Santa Buddies!
Under the marquee – Will